Strauss Surname Genealogy

is a Gernanic surname made
famous by the 19th century composers Johann Strauss with his Viennese
waltzes and Richard Strauss with his operas such as Der
The surname seemed to have started out as a
nickname, either as an awkward or belligerent person (from struz
meaning “to quarrel”) or as a person who might wear a hat
with ostrich feathers (from struze meaning
Strauss can be a
German or a
Jewish surname
. A Strauss came to
South Africa in 1723, to America in 1732, and was recorded in England
1790. Sometimes the surname has been
spelt Straus.

Strauss Resources on

Strauss Ancestry

surname is found mainly
in Austria and in southern and eastern Germany.
The numbers today are about 20,000 in Germany as a whole and
another 5,000
in Austria.

America. The earliest
Strauss arrivals in America were probably two brothers from
Albrecht and John Philip Strauss, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1732
settled in Berks county.They left their name to Strausstown (where a
John Strauss had a large farm and distillery).
Some of these Strauss descendants changed their spelling to

A later example of a spelling change was
Strauss becoming Strouse in Indiana in the 1860’s.
Another Strauss in Indiana changed his name
to Stross.

Strauss came to Ohio from Bavaria in 1858.
He was a portrait and miniaturist painter by trade.
Six of his paintings are displayed in the
Cincinnati Art Museum. His son Joseph was
the chief engineer in the building of the
Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
Strauss meanwhile
arrived in Milwaukee in the 1880’s. His
sons started the Strauss Brothers meatpacking business in 1937. This business is now run by the third
generation of Strausses.

Strausses. The
majority of the Strausses who came in the 19th century were Jewish,

The most famous of
them was Levi Strauss, the inventor of blue jeans.
Growing up in Bavaria, he joined his older
brothersin New York in 1848. They
operated a small dry goods business there.
When he heard about the California gold rush he headed West and
his own dry goods business in San Francisco.
It was in 1873 that the Levi Strauss Company patented a new
denim work
overall and blue jeans were born. Levi
himself died unmarried in 1902 and his legacy was passed onto his four

Lazarus Straus meanwhile had come to America
in 1854 from the Rhineland Palatinate, settling first in Georgia and
after the Civil War, in New York. His
three sons all made their mark there – Nathan and Isidor as co-owners
of New
York’s biggest department stores (Macy’s and Abraham & Straus) and
who in 1906 became the first Jewish US Cabinet minister.

Isidor Straus
died with his wife
the Titanic sank in 1912. His
son Jesse served as US ambassador to
France in the 1930’s. Nathan Straus
gave away most of his fortune to Jewish projects in Palestine. Meanwhile Roger Straus, the grandson of
Oscar, was the co-founder and chairman of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, a
New York
book publishing company.

Other notable 19th century
immigrants were:

  • Raphael
    Strauss from
    Baden-Wurttemberg who came to upstate New York in the 1850’s and ran a
    goods business there. His son Joseph was
    a naval officer in World War One and later commanded the Asiatic fleet,
    first Jewish Admiral of the US Navy.
  • and
    Leopold Strauss from Alsace who fought on the Confederate side in the
    Civil War
    and whose son Leopold became a civic leader in Montgomery, Alabama.

Strauss came to the US from Germany
in 1915, hoping to become a concert pianist.
Instead he opened a dry goods store in rural Texas.
But he had two remarkable sons who were each to
make their mark in very different areas:

  • Robert
    Strauss, the legendary Washington insider who was to serve
    Presidents from Carter through Reagan to Bush. Bush
    appointed him ambassador to the Soviet Union in 1991.
  • while
    Ted Strauss became a
    entrepreneur, well-known in his own right and also via his wife Annette
    served as mayor of Dallas.

Arnold Strauss arrived in Virginia in 1935, escaping
Sadly both his parents
trapped in the Netherlands when the Germans invaded that country in

England. The Strauss name in England is not that
common, although one Strauss line has been traced back to Charles
Strauss in
London sometime around 1790.

and Arthur Strauss arrived in London as Jewish merchants from Mainz in
1860’s. Both prospered, Alphonse as a
general merchant in London and Arthur as a wealthy tin merchant in
Cornwall (known
as the “tin king”) and Liberal MP there.
Both had illustrious sons:

  • Alphonse
    with Henry Strauss, a Conservative MP who became Baron Conesford
  • and
    Arthur with George Strauss, a long-time
    Labor MP who became Baron Strauss.

recent English cricket captain Andrew Strauss has South African
having been born in Johannesburg.

South Africa
. Georg
Friedrich Strauss
emigrated from Strasbourg to the Cape Colony
as a
midshipman on the Adelaarin
1723. His descendants in South Africa,
via his sons David and Johannes, are numerous.

One line from Johannes led to J.G.N. (or Koos)
Strauss from the Northern Cape who was leader of the opposition United
from 1950 to 1956 at the time that the pro-apartheid National Party was
on the

Strauss Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:

Strauss Names

the US West Coast immigrant at the time of the California Gold Rush who
the Levi Strauss Company which became world-famous for the manufacture
of blue jeans.

was the New York businessman who co-owned Macy’s department store and
died on
the Titanic when she sank in
Joseph Strauss
was the
chief engineer for the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco that was
in 1937.
Koos Strauss
was the leader
of the opposition United Party in South Africa from 1950 to 1956.
Robert Strauss
was the legendary
Washington insider, serving Presidents from Carter through Reagan to

Select Strausses Today

  • 600 in the UK (most numerous
    in London)
  • 6,000 in America (most numerous in New York)
  • 2,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)




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